At 25 years old, Jonathan Schoop has established what he is at the big league level: a free swinger with lots of power potential that will punish mistakes when pitchers make them. He has also established that he is more than willing to limit his effectiveness by chasing pitches that he should spit on, playing right into the pitcher's plan. In fact, Schoop had the majors' fourth-worst rate of swinging out of the zone in 2016 and one of the 10 worst rates over the past three years. Schoop is like teammate Manny Machado in that he does most of his power damage against righties (48 of his 57 homers). Unlike Machado, Schoop does have issues against lefties. His career batting average is 32 points worse and his strikeout rate is six percentage points higher against southpaws. Keep that in mind for daily fantasy matchups or weeks with multiple lefty starters projected.
Schoop returned to Orioles camp on Wednesday after playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. Schoop played in all seven of his team's WBC games, managing a .222/.300/.333 slash line over 27 at-bats. Despite the pedestrian numbers, the 25-year-old showed what he's capable of by going 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI in the Netherlands' second-round loss to Japan. Schoop will enter his fifth MLB season (fourth as a starter) looking to build off 2016's breakout campaign. The second baseman has emerged as one of the best power hitters at his position. On the other hand, Schoop lacks plate discipline (3.2 percent walk rate in 2016), so his ceiling appears capped as a low-OBP slugger, but that's still plenty valuable in most formats.
Schoop, playing in his final game before leaving Orioles camp to join the Netherlands for the World Baseball Classic, hit a home run in Monday's game against the Yankees. The second baseman is 3-for-8 with two doubles and a homer in three spring games. Schoop played in all 162 games for the Orioles last season and tied for sixth among MLB second basemen with 615 at-bats. His 38 doubles and 25 home runs in 2016 were both good for fifth-best at the position. Schoop can be counted on to fill the stat sheet once again in 2017.
Schoop said he will play second base for Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun reports. There was talk of him moving to third base, but Schoop confirmed Xander Bogaerts will slide over to the hot corner. The Netherlands infield is crowded, also boasting the Angels' Andrelton Simmons, the Yankees' Didi Gregorius and the Rangers' Jurickson Profar. Schoop sticking at his natural position, however, should ease any concerns entering the tournament. Schoop's breakthrough 2016 season (.267/.298/.454 with 25 HR, 82 RBI and 82 runs) paints a sunny fantasy outlook for 2017, albeit with some downside because of his plate discipline woes.
Schoop agreed to a one-year, $3.475 million deal with the Orioles on Friday, avoiding arbitration, PressBoxonline.com's Rich Dubroff reports. He is coming off a year where he posted career highs in home runs (25), runs (82) and RBI (82), thanks largely to playing in all 162 games. Schoop has become a pretty solid bet for three-category production, and he has gotten his strikeout rate to a manageable place (21.2 percent last year), so he is no longer a major batting average risk.
Schoop went 2-for-4 with a two-RBI double and three-run homer in Friday's 8-1 victory over the Yankees. The slugging second baseman exploded for his most impressive outing of the season, breaking a streak of a 15-game streak without an RBI in momentous fashion. Schoop has been enduring a thoroughly forgettable September, but has now cobbled together hits in three straight contests. His three-run shot Friday was also his first round-tripper since Sep. 13 versus the Red Sox.